Safe Cycling in St. Pete: Discovering Local Businesses Along the Pinellas Trail

Apr 22, 2024By Krystina Lisi
Krystina Lisi

Life in Downtown St. Pete

I’ve called downtown St. Pete home for the past six years. After a decade of enduring commutes that could last up to four hours a day, settling here and working remote was a dream come true. Now, my car rarely leaves its parking spot, reserved only for long-distance adventures, bad weather conditions, or lazy days.

The Joy of Being Car-Free 

One of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had was a city scavenger hunt in 2019, hosted by CarFree St. Pete. This event was designed to promote public transportation and bike rentals, showcasing the accessibility of small businesses without a car. It combined two of my favorite things: supporting local businesses and moving freely without a vehicle.

Pinellas trail

During the event, we were offered free Coast bike rentals, which allowed us to navigate the city with speed and ease. It was my first time back on a bike since childhood, and I loved every minute. Riding on the Pinellas Trail, I discovered just how bike-friendly St. Pete is. The trail provided a safe route away from street traffic, which I found very comforting.

Embracing Alternative Transport

Over the past few years, I’ve embraced all forms of transportation downtown offers, from the Sun Runner to scooters to hybrid bikes. I was particularly fond of the original blue Coast bikes and became a regular user until they were phased out for hybrid models. This change disappointed me more than I thought it would, even though I've grown to love the electric bikes.

Eventually, I purchased a bike of my own. I'm more interested in slow local cruises than anything but also wanted a bike that would make it up thrill hill and the magical streets near Roser Park with ease. I finally recently settled on a Retrospec Barron bike in baby blue, and I'm in love with her.

Roser Park St Pete
Roser Park - St. Pete Parks & Recreation

While I recommend purchasing a bike from one of the amazing local shops downtown, I did purchase this bike online, had it shipped to my home, and called in the experts to help me assemble it. It was an incredibly smooth process, thanks to Old Northeast Cycle who has been selling, assembling, and fixing bikes in the Old Northeast for decades. They are now conveniently a mobile bike shop and they assembled the bike right in my backyard!

Shop Retrospec Barron 

Retrospec Barron _Downdown St Pete
Grand Central - St. Pete

Community & Connections in St. Pete
man using smartphone smiling

Inspired by my car-free experiences and just wanting a creative way to connect with people in the community, I started the St. Pete Weird Walks meetup group. Surprisingly there are 900 members and that happened quickly, we gather regularly to explore the city on foot. It's not about distance or speed, it's more about conversation, connection, and being present. I hope to expand routes and add some weird bike rides into the mix. 

Envisioning the Future

As I ride my new bike daily, I often brainstorm ways to enhance the trail's accessibility. Imagining small shops, restaurants, and even mini bike repair stations along the trail excites me. I've noticed several new businesses popping up already, and that makes me very happy. 

Safe Routes for Everyone

I've also started to map out bike-friendly routes for those who feel safer staying off the streets. These paths are designed especially for my family visiting from out of town and tourists who might feel intimidated by city biking. My goal is to ensure they can enjoy their ride without the stress of navigating through traffic.

Discover Local Gems in Downtown St. Pete

Here’s a list of local businesses along the Pinellas Trail within about 5 miles from the start of it downtown. They are all easily accessible without mingling too much with car traffic:

1. Bad Mother - Specialty Coffee Bar. Get your ride started with a beautifully crafted drink. 

Bad Mother Coffee Bar
Bad Mother Coffee Bar

2. Lolita’s Wine Market - A perfect spot for wine lovers looking for a cozy spot right off of the trail.

Lolitas Wine Market
Image from I Love The Burg


3. Foodie Labs- A hub of culinary innovation and comfort food with easy access right from the trail. 

Foodie Labs
Foodie Labs

4. The Chelsea- A friendly cafe ideal for a coffee break. Located in the Warehouse Arts District, just a few blocks from the trail, away from the traffic on the main road. 

The Chelsea St. Pete
The Chelsea St. Pete

5. Trail Garden- Located at St. Pete Distillery. Offering fresh, locally-sourced meals and great cocktails in a vibrant setting. Great spot to rest your wheels. 

Trail Garden at St. Pete Distillery
Trail Garden at St. Pete Distillery

Embrace the Pinellas Trail

Please let me know what I’m missing. I’ve found all of these wonderful spots with my own eyes while riding, so there might be gems I've yet to discover! If you're in the area, I encourage you to experience downtown St. Pete on two wheels. From the stunning murals to the gorgeous views of the skyline, and the safety of freely riding without cars, don't take this trail for granted. There are many cities without such a magnificent asset. Don't sleep on it!

Brake bagels

Connect with Me

Thank you for taking this ride through downtown St. Pete with me. Explore, connect, and enjoy the freedom of a car-free lifestyle right here in our beautiful city!

My name is Krystina. I own 33 Local, a marketing agency that specializes in promoting small businesses in downtown St. Pete. I have a passion for small business, shopping local, and I am in love with St. Pete 💙